Here is Ian Parker’s ride report from Training in Bright.
The weekend before last (Oct 30 and Nov 1), I headed down to Bright to experience the climbs of PCFC. I stayed at Bright Velo (very friendly) and had great pizza at the pub. A great scene change from BrisVegas.
As an ill omen, at 2 am Saturday morning, I was woken by thunder and teaming rain. Noooo! At daylight, I was greeted by heavy rain so I thought I’d wait a while. I checked out BOM and saw a gap in the rain fronts, so at 0900 headed up to Falls Creek. My aim was to ride down to WTF corner and then back up again (the Back of Falls climb). I didn’t want to descend in the rain and achieved this for the first 30 mins, but it started to rain half way down and then I got the dreaded flat tyre. I was riding a new pair of Specialised Turbo Pro 25’s (semi-comp slicks) which the fine sharp quartz road metal of the Back of Falls road sliced… The road had only been open since winter for 2 days, apparently, so nothing like a a nice pair of slicks to chew up for breakky! After fixing the flat with numb fingers in the cold rain… I managed to get down to WTF in a total of 1:15. By the time I was down to WTF, it was lovely and warm, and no rain. Must be a rain shadow down there.
So. Back of Falls. Well, I have only done PCGC and know the dreaded Henri Roberts Drive well (5 times and unlikely to do it again!). I can confidently say that Back of Falls is not as hard, but…I didn’t have 200 kms in my legs. This will be a tough obstacle next March and I am glad I’ve seen it beforehand. I will also have Conti Gatorskins on! My main issue on this climb was the cold (there’s still snow near Mt Cope) and after David’s chat this evening, I agree with the slowing down in the cold bit! Despite my four layers, I stopped shivering an hour after I finished the climb, in the car on the way back to Bright.
The following day I was hoping to do Mt Hotham from Harrretville but I couldn’t get my bike out of the storage at the hotel until 7. Being time limited with a flight late afternoon out of Melbourne, I chose instead to do Mt Buffalo. In hindsight, I should have driven to the National Park gate and then rode up, as I ran out of time and at 0915 turned around about 200 metres climbing from the top. Never mind. Next time. Mind you, it was great coming down in the dry, because as I hit the gate at the bottom, thunder crashed out over the top and the rain teamed down.
I can absolutely recommend Bright as a great centre to be based in while climbing the alpine roads. The excitement of being surrounded by mountains, heaps of cyclists and great apres-velo venues was intoxicating and I can’t wait to return. For those doing the Bright Boot Camp, you’re gonna have a great time! My main lesson from the weekend was that I have to do lots of long, long climbs before next March (and follow the PCFC programme as well, of course!). Started last weekend with a Nerang to Binna Burra climb. Yeehah! PCFC here I come!